Recently, NASA has reported that its InSight Mars lander detected the largest quake ever observed on another planet.
- The rover first landed on Mars in November 2018, and has since heard 1,313 quakes. The largest previously recorded “marsquake” was detected in August 2021.
GS III- Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- What are marsquakes, and why do they happen?
- About InSight
What are marsquakes, and why do they happen?
- On Earth, quakes are caused by shifts in tectonic plates.
- Mars, however, does not have tectonic plates, and its crust is a giant plate.
- Therefore, ‘marsquakes’ are caused due to stresses that cause rock fractures or faults in its crust.
- InSight is not looking for life on Mars, but is studying what Mars is made of, how its material is layered, and how much heat seeps out of it.
- This is important because Earth and Mars used to be similar — warm, wet and shrouded in thick atmospheres — before they took different paths 3-4 billion years ago.
- Mars stopped changing, while Earth continued to evolve.
- With InSight, scientists hope to compare Earth and Mars, and better understand how a planet’s starting materials make it more or less likely to support life.
- There are other missions to Mars that are looking for life on the planet, which makes Insight’s mandate unique.
- Some missions studying the possibility of life on Mars include UAE’s Hope, China’s Tianwen-1, and NASA’s Perseverance.
-Source: Indian Express